The Court has considered the following papers in connection with this
1. Claim, "verified" July 18, 2002, filed July 22, 2002;
2. Answer, affirmed August 15, 2002, filed August 19, 2002;
3. Claimant's Notice of Motion, dated August 31, 2004, filed September 3,
4. Affirmation of James L. Gelormini in opposition to Claimant's motion, dated
September 17, 2004, filed September 22, 2004, with attached exhibits.
Claimant filed this claim in July 2002, to recover for injuries allegedly
sustained as the result of an assault by correction officers at Attica
Correctional Facility on May 4, 2002. In the months that followed Claimant
sought disclosure of various items, including the personnel files and inmate
grievance histories for several correction officers. Defendant complied in part
with the demand, but objected to the production of personnel files and grievance
reports on the basis of privilege. No further discovery has been demanded by
either party since September 2002. On August 23, 2004 the Court scheduled the
matter for trial on October 8, 2004. Claimant then filed the instant motion
seeking those same items requested through discovery by a subpoena duces tecum
pursuant to CPLR 3120. Defendant has opposed the motion.
Civil Rights Law § 50-a (1) exempts from disclosure "[a]ll personnel
records, used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion .
. .". It is well settled that "inmate grievances would fall within the statute.
They are documents containing personal, employment-related information about a
public employee, namely, complaints made by inmates about the on-the-job conduct
of certain correction officers . . ." (Matter of Prisoners' Legal Services of
New York v New York State Department of Correctional Services, 73 NY2d 26,
31 ). Although Claimant asserts that he seeks the records to prove his
case, his purpose in seeking the records is irrelevant. It is the nature and
potential use of the information that is the focus of Civil Rights Law
§ 50-a, "irrespective of how, at whose behest or for what purpose the
information is released into the public domain" (Matter of Daily Gazette
Company v City of Schenectady, 93 NY2d 145, 158 ). On that basis
Claimant's requests for records in items number 1 through 5 of his motion are
To the extent Claimant has sought medical records or injury reports of the
correction officers, that request is likewise denied. Defendant, by merely
defending this matter, has not affirmatively placed the physical condition of
its employees in controversy (Dillenbeck v Hess, 73 NY2d 278 ), and
those employees have not directly or indirectly waived the physician-patient
More generally, the Court notes that this matter has been scheduled for trial,
and that two years have transpired without any effort to pursue further
discovery. Claimant has offered no explanation for his delay in the pursuit of
disclosure, and the Court is disinclined to adjourn the scheduled trial when no
reason for years of inaction has been suggested.
Based upon the above, it is
ORDERED, that Claimant's motion is denied.